Culture of cover-up starts with the Minister

During the past two weeks the State Liberals have asked hundreds of questions in Parliament about the Oakden scandal but the Weatherill Government has stonewalled on the answers.

“The residents who have suffered neglect and abuse, their families and the people of South Australia need assurance that the terrible events at Oakden will never happen again,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade.

“They can have no confidence that is the case when the Mental Health Minister fails to provide answers to the most basic of questions.”

In the past two weeks Minister Vlahos repeatedly promised to come back to Parliament and provide information on a raft of issues but has failed to do so.

As a result, the public are all still in the dark on critical questions:

  • The number and care needs of patients currently being cared for at Oakden;
  • The number of patients stuck in other hospitals since Oakden stopped admissions;
  • Whether staff considered a risk to patients have been permitted to continue working at Oakden;
  • Whether families of residents of Oakden before 2016 have been contacted to find out whether they have any concerns;
  • Will the Minister release an October 2016 letter from the Principal Community Visitor raising concerns about Oakden;
  • How the Chief Psychiatrist’s damning review of Oakden was handled in the Minister’s Office and the involvement of the Premier’s Office;
  • When will the Minister release SA Health briefings in response to concerns raised by a Labor Member of Federal Parliament on behalf of a constituent which referred to the risk Oakden patients could be injured or die;
  • Whether prior to the Chief Psychiatrist’s review, the Minister sought any advice about the care of elderly people at Oakden or whether the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network requested measures to improve the service at Oakden;
  • When the independent review of forensic care and resources will be released, as recommended by the Principal Community Visitor;
  • Whether there has been a reduction in the resources available to the Chief Psychiatrist’s office; and
  • Why a statewide model of care for older persons mental health was not implemented, despite its preparation having started in 2007.

“Premier Jay Weatherill claims ‘when bad things happen, we disclose them’ yet nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mr Wade.

“Labor doesn’t disclose and it disowns responsibility by devolving blame downwards.

“This tired, arrogant and deceitful government will not change.”